Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland

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Don’t let the winter months scare you from going outside, there is still so much to be seen. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is brimming with beauty, even in the colder months. Several hikes will give you luxurious views of snowy mountains, icy falls and even traces of wildlife!snowycreek_ig

Alum Cave Bluffs is a 5 mile, round trip hike that sits off of Newfound Gap Road. The trail has recently been restored for better access to hikers. During the winter months, the drips from the Bluff turn into icicles, so watch out! If you continue from the Bluffs up another 2.5 miles, you’ll reach the summit of Mt. LeConte and run into some amazing views. This is a difficult hike, especially in the snow so don’t forget to come prepared for anything.

Another Local favorite is Porters Creek Trail. This kid-friendly, 2 mile hike leads into what used to be a small farmstead. You will see several buildings and other structures still standing from the early 1900s. Follow the trail left up to Fern Branch Falls for a magnificent view of the 60-foot frozen waterfall. laurel250xv

Laurel Falls is a paved, relatively easy trail, but one of the most traveled in the area. The trail is kid-friendly, although it does have a few steep drop offs along the way. In the winter, the Falls will ice over providing you with the perfect winter snapshot.

Our favorite winter hike would have to be Rainbow Falls. This 5.5 mile hike is rated as moderate to difficult, climbing a total of 1,700 feet. This trail sends you right through Bear Country so always keep an eye out for wildlife, even though they usually hibernate through winter. The 80-foot Falls usually boasts a beautiful rainbow, hence the name, although in the winter months it will freeze, creating a gorgeous hourglass shaped ice sculpture! You really have to see this one for yourself!

Remember that preparation is key for hiking, especially in the winter. Some guidelines to ensuring your safety include carrying a map of the area, informing another person(s) where you are going and when you plan to return, researching terrain or trail conditions and staying up to date on weather and weather alerts. Don’t forget to bring key items such as water, food, a flashlight, trekking poles for stability, an emergency blanket and other items you may need in case any unforeseen issues arise. Always dress in layers and wear adequate shoes or boots. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times and always practice Leave No Trace principles.

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

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A Smoky Mountain Winter

 

Winterfest is in full effect here in the winterfest lights.jpgGreat Smoky Mountains. Everywhere you turn you are filled with the joy of the holidays, lights throughout the city and holiday decor on every corner will definitely put you in the mood!

Take the Trolley Ride of Lights to sit back, relax and enjoy all the lights in the comfort of a Gatlinburg Trolley. The journey takes you all around town to view the one of a kind displays put out by the city. The new LED lighting provides a bright blast of new and old scenes that portray what Winter means to us, showing off native wildlife to the Great Smoky Mountains as well as holiday themed scenes and some classics from the last 23 years.

 

dollywood-chapelDollywood has all the classic shows going on through their own celebration, Smoky Mountain Christmas. Featuring shows including It’s A Wonderful Life, O’ Holy Night, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and more, you’re sure to get in the spirit of Christmas! Stop by Santa Land with the kids for crafts, huge toys and of course a visit with Santa and meet Rudolph and his Friends too! The Parade Of Many Colors closes the night with a spectacular show of lights, floats, characters and more.
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Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is a Christmas light show unlike one you’ve ever seen before. It is the largest drive-through, fully computerized, LED light and music show of its kind! You just pull up and tune your radio station to the one provided and start your drive through a magical wonderland of moving lights that are synced to the music. After your tour, stop by Santa’s Workshop for several attractions including a petting zoo, pony rides, inflatables, crafts, Christmas movies and of course pictures with Santa! They are located at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium.

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For over thirty years The Christmas Place has give us the opportunity to enjoy Christmas all year long and is now the South’s largest Christmas shopping village. With over 60 themed Christmas Trees, there is definitely something for everyone! They have everything you may need for Christmas, including decorations, presents, collection items and many others! You can even personalize an ornament for each member of the family. Now that would be a Christmas tradition you wouldn’t forget!

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

Let it Snow!

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We are happy to say that Ober Gatlinburg is up and running! Ride the famous Aerial Tram from Downtown Gatlinburg up 2.1 miles to the Ski Resort and Amusement Park as a great way to kick off your day. The views are astonishing! Once at the top, there are a variety of activities for all members of the family. They feature an indoor ice skating rink, arcade, carousel and wildlife encounters that are perfect for anyone not wanting to brave the elements.

They have a outdoor Alpine Slide and a Ski Mountain Coaster for family friendly outdoor activities. Ober has also opened up Snow tubing, which has been a huge hit for anyone ages 3 and older. It’s just like sledding but you don’t have to walk back up,  Ober has a “magic carpet” that takes care of that! If you have little ones, they also offer a Cubbies Snow Zone for the kids to play. Entry is free with an area/lift ticket.

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The slopes will resume regular operating hours following the start of the 2016/2017 season. Ticket prices vary on amount of days and equipment rental. The resort starting blowing snow last week and already has a base of over 15″ on most of their runs. Of course, you’ll have to check the forecast daily. And with 10 different trails and 7 different lifts, you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

Smoky Mountain Thanksgiving

 

The Great Smoky Mountains are a place for families to come together and remember what life is all about. There are many things for us to be thankful for this season, and with Thanksgiving nearing we thought we could share what we are most thankful for!

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1. We are thankful for the Great Smoky Mountains! Being surrounded by these majestic mountains day in and day out is such a blessing. If you’re walking through or driving, you’re sure not to miss just how beautiful they are. We are SO glad we get to enjoy them year round! US-NationalParkService-ShadedLogo.svg.png

2. We are thankful for the National Park Service! This year, the NPS turned 100 years old! Without their aid and effort, the Smokies might not have made the Number One spot on the Most Visited National Park List. They strive to preserve our natural beauty and work hard to ensure that it stays that way and we are so very grateful.

 

3. We are thankful for the Seasons! We can not believe how much our surroundings change throughout the year. We were fortunate enough this Spring to walk through the wildflowers and spot a few salamanders! Summer was a hot one, but it made for lazy lake days and pleasant walks through the shade trees. Fall is still here and the colors are bountiful!

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4. We are thankful for all of the Attractions! There is no shortage of things to do in the Smokies. The area has everything you can think of! Tanger Outlet is the perfect spot to catch a bargain. Dollywood offers a family fun approach with shows and high flying coasters. We have go-karts, ferris wheels, mini golf, and more!

5. We are thankful for all of our visitors! Without all of our wonderful guests, the area would not be what it is today. It makes us SO happy that SO many people share our love of the Great Smokies! With over 10 million visitors to our Mountains, there’s no surprise in the amount of joy that is shared each year.

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6. We are thankful for our firefighters! With the drought we have had recently, the area is full of wildfires. Our firefighters have been working so hard to put out these natural and man made fires to their best ability, to help make sure that our land (and air quality!) is preserved.

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

 

It’s Still Fall, Y’all!

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November is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s over yet! The leaves are still changing so there’s time to experience the wonderful colors the Smokies have to offer. You may just have to take a walk on the wild side with some adventurous coasters or saddle up for a whole new outlook on the beauty our area has to offer.

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We now have an incredible selection of coasters in the area. Start off small with the Alpine Slide at Ober. This 1800 foot track is fun for all ages! They also have the Ski Mountain Coaster where you can enjoy a faster ride down a 3750 foot metal track! If you would like to see the colors from all areas and angles, try the other coasters in the area as well. Stop by Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster 640px-DW_Wild_Eagle.JPGon your way into town to experience their 35 mph coaster. Or if you’ll be lodging in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster would be a fun stop for the kids (and adults!). Go big or go home with Dollywood‘s roller coaster the Wild Eagle®. It is definitely one of a kind! While “flying” high above the park itself, the views you catch showcase the Smoky Mountains.

 

sunset riders 250xTo slow down the pace a bit, head over to Cades Cove. This 11-mile loop through the National Park offers a close up look of the flora and fauna we have in the area. Take your time to drive around the loop or just take the shortcut at one of the two they have. They also offer Horseback Riding Tours Guided  Hayrides, and Carriage Tours up until November 30 (weather permitting). You’re sure to see some of the wild animals in this area and some of the prettiest close up views from inside the park itself.

 

Want to soar through the trees? Head over the CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour to get up close and personal with nature. Start off with an ATV ride to the top in groups of six. Sticking with a “true tree canopy” feel, during the tour  your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours! You’ll walk over 3 sky bridges giving you a ‘bird’s eye view’ when not zipping. If you’re looking for more of a challenge they also offer Mountain Biking. El Regis Trail is a two mile loop that is considered intermediate, but beginners up for a challenge are more than welcome on it as well.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and
Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

Things To Do: Gatlinburg Summer Camps for Kids

Click Here to Subscribe by Email!We know you are always looking for fun things to do with your kids, but this time we have a slightly different idea! If you need a bit of a break from the kids, but leaving them behind is not an option, bring them with you to Gatlinburg, and send them to summer camp! You’ll still get to have them with you in the evenings and mornings, but from as early as 8:30 am, until as late as 3:30 pm, depending on the age(s) of your child(ren), you could enjoy some private time with your soul mate while your kids have a spectacular time enjoying the best fun our area has to offer!

The City of Gatlinburg is offering 6 Summer Camps for kids this summer! Unfortunately, we just now heard about it and 3 of them are already over. But there are still three more to choose from. (And hopefully we’ll get our report out a bit sooner next spring!)

Petting ZooPipsqueak Camp- Ages 5 – 7

July 7 -11, 2014 :: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: $50.00
This fun day camp for the little bitties includes a T-shirt at no additional cost. Please provide your child with a sack lunch. Children will visit a petting zoo, go swimming, watch movies, go bowling, try putt putt golf, go to Kid’s country, try ice skating, and visit the Knoxville Zoo!

Ice Skating at Ober GatlinburgSportacular Camp- Ages 8 – 13

July 14 -18, 2014 :: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Cost: $50.00
Your super little athlete will get their fill in this busy sport camp! A T-shirt is included, but please provide your child’s own lunch each day. Activities include basketball, dodgeball, lasertag, swimming, capture the flag, bowling, tubing, Hot Air Balloon, soccer, flag football, ice skating, and go-carts.

Camping in Cades CoveSurvivor Camp- Ages 8 – 13

July 21 – 25, 2014 :: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm and one overnight camp-out
Cost: $90.00
If you have a young adventurer on your hands, look no further than Survivor Camp! Children will need to bring their own lunch with them each day (excluding the camp-out) and a T-shirt is included in the cost! This amazing camp includes a treasure hunt, Haunted Adventure, obstacle course, The Tomb, craft and puzzle challenges, dogeball tournament, tubing, White Water Rafting, and a camp-out at Cades Cove.

For more information, call the City of Gatlinburg at (865) 436-4990 or visit the City of Gatlinburg website!

The Sugarlands Distillery

The Sugarlands Distillery

On March 21, 2014, Sugarlands Distillery held their grand opening celebration!

Making Moonshine

An exciting place “with one foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times,” Sugarlands Distillery offers authentic moonshine flavors such as: Silver Cloud, Appalachian Apple Pie, Blockader’s Blackberry, and much more! They use a 7 Step process to make the moonshine:

 

1st Step of Distillation Artisanal Stone Burr Mill– Tennessee white corn is milled to a cornmeal consistency in our artisanal stone burr mill.
2nd Step of Distillation Fermenter– Milled corn & pure cane sugar are then combined with “backins” from a prior batch along with yeast & water from the Smoky Mountains to create our sour mash. During fermentation the mash bubbles over 4-5 days.
3rd Step of Distillation Copper Pot Still– Fermented “corn beer” is transferred to the Copper Pot Still where the mash is heated until the alcohol vaporizes. This is the first distillation.
4th Step of Distillation Copper Distillation Column– As it moves through the copper distillation column, it condenses and is redistilled 5 more times for a total of 6. The copper removes sulfites from the alcohol vapor.
5th Step of Distillation Spirit Safe– As the liquid is cooled and poured off the tap in the Spirit Safe the new moonshine’s heads, hearts, and tails are collected and separated. Only our hearts are kept for final bottling.
6th Step of Distillation Sugarlands Shine– The “backins” from the pot still take on new life when they are blended with the next run. The Authentic Sugarlands Shine Silver Cloud is born and savored.

 

Historic Roots

Though a new company, the Sugarlands Distillery has made every effort to keep itself deeply rooted in the Tennessee History from which moonshine originates. You can see this in a variety of ways, including the materials used to construct their main building- a barn-house built from reclaimed wood.

Red Blue and White WoodsBlue and White Wood

The rustic blue and white painted wood used throughout the distillery interior was rescued from the Grey family home which was nestled in the Cane Creek area of Tellico Plains. The home was built upon a brick foundation which pre-dates the civil war. The wood carefully selected for our distillery consists primarily of interior painted wood from this warm family home, soaking up the history of family gatherings through the years.

Red Wood

The signature red wood came from an old barn in the Appalachian foothills of Tellico Plains, which was built and then painted by the Carriger family in the 1930’s. Just up the road from there a few of the light greenish/grey boards came out of the interior of a house in an area called Turkey Creek that also dates back to the Civil War.

Brown and Grey WoodsBrown and Grey Wood

The weathered brown and grey wood which covers the distillery’s exterior and some high interior walls were saved from a barn in Sweetwater. Built by a well-respected barn builder of the time by the name of Wilson, a copy of the handwritten deed of the property reveals it was most likely built in the late 1850’s. It is all white oak wood. The brown was most likely interior wood protected from the elements while the grey wood shows 150 years of cold mountain snows and the heat of Southern summers.

Our SugarlandsTennessee Legends

Another interesting way the Sugarlands distillery shows their pride in their roots is by sharing some of the fascinating history and legends of our area on their website!  Stop by there sometime and enjoy learning about the moonshine history of the area and the part it played in our economic development, Wiley Oakley, for whom one of Gatlinburg’s most traveled roads is named (ERA In the Smokies has several cabins available for rent which are on or just off of Wiley Oakley Rd), and much more!

Worth a Visit

Below are just a few reasons the Sugarlands Distillery is worth a visit!

The Back PorchThe Back Porch

Rest your feet and sit a spell on our Back Porch; an outdoor pine pavilion which includes our performance stage ready for you to relax and savor your time with us at the distillery. We keep our calendar filled with touring regional and national musical acts as well as talented local favorites. Highlighting styles ranging from; Appalachian Americana, old-timey, bluegrass pickin’ jams, folk, acoustic, and singer-songwriter.

The Back Porch is also home to the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association, which brings tale tellers to the stage from as close as our backyard to the world over. Check out our Happenings page for our up to date entertainment calendar and plan your next visit to hang out with us.

The Trading PostThe Trading Post

Shop moonshine, mountain merchandise, apparel, books, music and more in the Trading Post. You’ll find a collection of shirts, hats and other accessories to outfit your Sugarlands style. There’s also a nifty assortment of gifts and tools for the outdoor adventurer. Since we care an awful lot about our Sugarlands Shine we’ve got glassware, flasks, and other gizmos to serve it up in fine fashion. Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of extra large bags for you to carry all your stuff. Visit the shop link to preview our full range of online Sugarlands Merchandise available.

Sippin' PostsThe Sippin’ Posts

We wanted to make it easy to sip free samples of our delicious Sugarlands Shine while you’re visiting, so we constructed three octagon bars for folks to gather around. We call em Sippin’ Posts. We’ve saved a place just for you to get acquainted with our friendly Tastemakers as they pour savory sips of all of our fine moonshine. At the Sippin’ Post, you will find your favorite flavors of shine to take home and share with friends and family.

When you buy a full case of twelve jars from the distillery, or even a six pack you will receive your very own Sugarlands wood crate absolutely free. Warning- you will receive very interesting looks on the street while walking around downtown Gatlinburg and may gain many new friends in the process.

Sugarlands Still HouseSugarlands Still House

Although the recipes and craft of making moonshine are ages old, the Sugarlands Still House features custom-designed distilling equipment that produces a superior moonshine.

With one foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times, the Still House is where our delicious Sugarlands Shine is made.

Our artisanal stone mill grinds grains like corn and rye into meal that is then mixed with pure Smoky Mountain water and is then moved to our giant cooker. From there, the liquid is transferred to the fermenter to simmer for a few days. When the time is right that “wash” is pumped into the copper pot still where it is heated and distilled. The alcohol vapor filters through the copper pipes and rises up through the plates of the distillation column, down through the chilling column to cool and is finally poured out of the Spirit Safe.

You can see the whole production through the screen windows or if you want to take a closer look you can book a free talk and tour. As long as you knock on our speakeasy door, whisper the password, keep mum,  and you are in!

Most of the above contents, including most of the photos, were copied directly from The Sugarlands Distillery Website. Please visit their website to get more information, stories, and pictures!